12.15 am: A ‘dream’ on the cusp of sleep:
In the wall that the two peoples had built – tall and wide – to keep them apart, there was a gate called Gamaliel. It was heavy and solid, and bolted on both sides. The peoples had agreed that, on the first day of every month, the gate would be unlocked. Neither was obliged to push it open. But either could, if they so needed. The gate had been provided to alleviate the sadness of all the other days in the month, when they suffered self-imposed isolation. Later, as the far deeper silence began to descend, Gamaliel Day (as it was known) would have an even more profound importance for them.
Thirty-one years ago today, my mother died. She was 60 years of age; one year older than I am. I’ve always appreciated that she’d died young; but now I know how young she felt:
8.15 am: A communion. Every computer crash has its casualties. iTunes was the victim on this occasion. It’ll require a total rebuild. However, I can now reimport the music at 128kps, rather than that at the standard MP3 compression rate. (One can make a virtue out of a predicament, on occasion.) 9.00 am: Now where was I, yesterday, before the crash? Finalising the lack two tracks for I. Nothing. Lack. I was on catch-up. Then, a problem with my A/D interface emerged (post-IOS reinstallation. (Sigh!)) I found a fix; but I suspect that this might be a recurrent instability on every boot up. (‘Be optimistic, John!’) One of the hardest aspects of mixing is equalising the relative volume and apparent loudness of the tracks comprising an album. There’re batch processes on DAW software for this purpose. But I prefer to trust my ears.
Back and fore. Back and fore. From first track to the last; from last to the middle; from the middle to the first. I made minor adjustment to spikes in the frequency and harshness along the way.
1.40 pm: Off to town, walking along the shadow-side of the streets (very me), for my Saturday shop and sustenance. One day, if I last until retirement, I’ll spend much time writing in cafes. This is a lovely town in which to amble. One of my phone apps insists that my ‘home’ is the School of Art. I can’t yet persuade it otherwise. Perhaps it has a point, though.
2.40 pm: Back at homebase, I dug into one of the still problematic track mixes. As I’ve said before, I’m not a perfectionist. But I do have a sense of what’s right and possible. I need to be able to hear the track on playback without wincing. Shortly before 4.00 pm, I was getting close to my quarry. I’ll need to replay the whole album in several days’ time in order to assess whether I’ve settled the matter.
My mother died in Neville Hall Hospital, Abergavenny, around 10.20 pm on June 30, 1987. In my diary I wrote:
I said grace for our evening meal. I prayed that she might die. A moth was in the kitchen. I walked around the back of the house to open the backdoor and let it out. The phone rang. … It was a starry, warm evening.
5.20 pm: ‘I long to know again the solace of your palm pressing light upon my ear.’*